CNC Machinist

Last Updated:
July 19, 2023

Job Description Overview

A CNC Machinist job description involves using computer numerical control (CNC) equipment to shape and cut materials into precise shapes and sizes. This requires understanding blueprints and engineering drawings to program and set up machines, as well as inspecting finished products to ensure they meet required standards. CNC Machinists work in the manufacturing industry and may specialize in areas such as aerospace, automotive, or medical devices. They are responsible for monitoring the machines, troubleshooting any issues that arise, and performing regular maintenance tasks. CNC Machinists should have a strong attention to detail, be able to follow instructions precisely, and possess good communication skills. They often work in fast-paced environments and may be required to work overtime to meet production demands. A career as a CNC Machinist can be rewarding and provides opportunities for advancement.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Set up and operate computer numerical control (CNC) machines to produce precision parts and components
  • Read and interpret blueprints, schematics, and technical drawings to determine machining operations
  • Adjust machine settings to ensure quality and accuracy of finished products
  • Monitor machine operation and detect malfunctions or errors, making necessary adjustments and repairs
  • Verify dimensions of parts using precision measuring instruments, such as micrometers and gauges
  • Maintain a clean and organized work area, including routine machine maintenance and tool replacement
  • Collaborate with other machinists and team members to troubleshoot and solve production issues
  • Ensure all safety guidelines and procedures are followed to minimize accidents and injuries
  • Continuously improve skills and knowledge through training and experience to increase productivity and efficiency.

Experience and Education Requirements

To get a job as a CNC Machinist in the Manufacturing industry, you need a combination of education and experience. Many employers are looking for candidates who have a high school diploma or GED, but some may require additional education, such as an associate's degree in machining or a related field. CNC Machinists also need to have experience operating and programming CNC machines, which can be gained through on-the-job training, apprenticeships, or technical schools. A good understanding of math, including algebra and trigonometry, is also necessary. Additionally, CNC Machinists need to be able to read blueprints, use precision measuring tools, and be detail-oriented.

Salary Range

CNC machinists are in high demand in the manufacturing industry, and their salaries reflect this fact. According to a 2021 survey conducted by PayScale, in the United States, the expected salary range for a CNC Machinist is between $32,000 and $76,000 per year. However, the national average is around $50,000 per year. 

According to Neuvoo, one of the leading online salary calculators, the average CNC Machinist salary in Canada is around CAD 58,500 annually. In the United Kingdom, the annual average salary for CNC Machinists is around £25,000, according to Indeed. 

Keep in mind that salaries can vary depending on experience, education, and location. CNC machinists with more experience or training may earn more than entry-level employees, for example. Additionally, live in areas with higher costs of living may see higher salaries. 


  • PayScale:
  • Neuvoo:
  • Indeed:

Career Outlook

A CNC machinist operates and maintains computer numerical control (CNC) machines that are used to produce specialized parts and components for various industries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of machinists is projected to grow 3% from 2019 to 2029, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations.

The demand for machinists is expected to remain steady due to the need for specialized parts in the manufacturing industry. Additionally, the adoption of new technology, such as automation and robotics, is increasing the demand for skilled machinists who can program and operate these machines. For those interested in pursuing a career as a CNC machinist, it is important to have strong technical skills and be able to adapt to new technologies in the industry.

Overall, the career outlook for CNC machinists is optimistic, with job opportunities expected to grow in the next five years.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is a CNC machinist?

A: A CNC machinist is a skilled worker who operates computer-controlled machinery to create precise metal or plastic parts for various industries.

Q: What skills do I need to become a CNC machinist?

A: You will need a strong background in mathematics, good knowledge of mechanical systems, and experience working with computer software. Attention to detail, good communication skills, and a willingness to work on complex projects are also important.

Q: What type of machinery does a CNC machinist operate?

A: CNC machinists operate a variety of machines including lathes, grinders, drills, and milling machines. They use computer-aided design (CAD) programs to design parts and CNC software to operate machines.

Q: What kind of jobs can I get as a CNC machinist?

A: CNC machinists can work in a variety of industries including aerospace, automotive, medical equipment, and industrial machinery. They can become project managers or team leaders, or work in production, design, or quality assurance.

Q: What is the career outlook for CNC machinists?

A: The career outlook for CNC machinists is strong. With the increasing demand for customized and high-quality parts in various industries, there is a growing need for skilled CNC machinists. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of machinists is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations.

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